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environment

75% of shoppers ‘will boycott grocery brands’ over environmental concerns

Over three-quarters (77%) of UK grocery shoppers have, in the last 12 months, switched, avoided or boycotted buying certain products, or would consider doing so in the future, based on brands’ environmental policies.

Kantar questioned over 1,200 UK consumers between the ages of 16 and 65+ about their concern over a range of environmental issues, their purchasing decisions based on a brand’s sustainability credentials, environmental responsibility  and whether, as a consumer, they had ever decided to boycott buying a product or switch to another brand based on its environmental reputation. 

Brand loyalty is lowest among the youngest age group of 16-24 year-olds with 87% saying they have switched or might do so, with more males (24%) switching or boycotting brands than females (18%).

Responses differ considerably among generations too, with 40% of Millennials saying they have avoided buying, or decided to choose a different brand over the last 12 months, compared to only 9% of Baby Boomers. However almost half (46%) of this generation of 55-65+ year-olds indicated that while they hadn’t switched or boycotted brands in the last year because of their environmental credentials, they might consider doing so in the future – the highest among all age groups.

Harsh working conditions, environmental pollution and the overuse of packaging are some of the issues consumers think carefully about before purchasing FMCG products. 

Much needs to be done by the FMCG industry when it comes to publicising the positive work it is doing to address the environmental problems resulting from the throw-away, disposable culture we live in today, say 76% of consumers. This sentiment is high across all regions (>73%) with shoppers in the northwest of England (80%) agreeing followed by Greater London (78%). Only 9% considered this issue unimportant.

Mark Chamberlain, managing director of Brand, Kantar UK, said: “Responsible living is being driven by cross-generational groups of ‘woke’ consumers that look towards inspiring brand heroes as change leaders. Governments and organisations are being forced to listen and respond to consumers’ demands for greater transparency as businesses strive to become more purposeful.”

Almost 90% of respondents surveyed agree that brands need to take more responsibility for the waste they produce and the impact it this has on our environment. This sentiment was high across all age groups (>82%) but highest among those aged 65 and over (92%).

Three-quarters of shoppers agree that, due to inaction from many of the world’s governments, they want brands to act as forces for positive change in our society. However, when questioned about their response, over 70% of all consumers agreed that efforts by businesses to protect the environment are ‘too little, too late’, with younger generations of Millennials agreeing most with this statement (78%).

Environmental concerns

Consumers ranked global warming as their number one environmental concern (25%), followed by the overuse of plastic and other forms of packaging (18%) and then deforestation and the loss of biodiversity (14%). They appeared less concerned about the depletion of the ozone layer (4%), extraction of fossil fuels from the earth and natural resource depletion (5%), overfishing of our seas (6%) and household/industrial waste (8%).

These and many other of today’s environmental issues are caused, in part, by a lack of responsibility taken by some of the world’s leading brands, say 83% of consumers; a sentiment expressed most among 25-34-year-olds (88%).

Chamberlain added: “The rise in responsibility and conscious consumerism is being influenced by a top-down approach as the consumer voice grows and pushes forward environmental and social agendas.

“Consumers now expect the FMCG industry to be driven by some direction other than simply making a profit. These values are fast becoming key assets in helping boost brand value whilst projecting a positive corporate image, and by doing so businesses can demonstrate a clear sense of purpose. This is what consumers are now looking for in today’s brands, and this preference will only intensify as the next generation comes of age. Purpose-led FMCG brands enjoy stronger growth and a deeper connection with consumers.”

The study says UK brand Divine Chocolate  is an  FMCG brand that has earned greater trust from consumers due to its commitment to becoming more transparent and respect for the environment. While Waitrose has committed to no plastic and glitter in its Christmas crackers in 2020, Tesco has stopped using plastic bags for home deliveries and Morrisons now allows customers to use their own reusable containers at their meat, fish and cheese counters.

Kantar says the most-loved brands will be those that attempt to achieve a zero-carbon footprint by re-thinking operations and finding solutions that are fully sustainable both for the environment and the business bottom line.

Other key trends:

  • Plastic problem – Over half (53%) of consumers rank the overuse of plastic and other types of packaging as one of their top three environmental concerns. More women than men are concerned about it (58% v 49%), with 45-64 year-olds expressing most concern across all age groups (60%).
  • Buying decisions – 82% of 25-34 year-olds say they sometimes or always check a brand’s commitment towards sustainability, the environment and saving the planet before making a purchase.
  • Taking responsibility – Almost 90% of consumers agree that brands need to take more responsibility for the waste their products create and the impact it has on the environment, with 50% ‘strongly agreeing’. This sentiment is strong across all age groups (>82%) and is highest among the 65+ cohort (92%).
  • Younger generations – Those most concerned with the issue of global warming are 16-24 year-olds, the youngest age group overall, with 65% ranking it as one of their top three concerns; of those, over one-third said it was their number one concern. 
  • Boycotting brands – 76% of consumers said they had boycotted buying certain clothes, had switched brands in the last 12 months or were thinking of doing so because of a brand’s environmental policies.

Living the dream: How changing your pallet choice could save money AND the environment

By Pallite

Transit packaging that does the job you need it to do while saving you money and safeguarding the environment may sound like a dream that’s too good to be true, but one company has had more success than most turning that dream into a reality.

PALLITE’s lightweight yet strong, paper-based packaging products – including pallets, pallet boxes, layer pads and warehouse storage solutions – are made from sustainably-sourced materials and 100% recyclable after use. They contribute less to climate change and the disappearance of the world’s rainforests than wooden pallets, and result in reduced CO2 emissions and total cost of distribution for businesses that choose to use them.

There is a growing movement away from traditional wooden pallets towards alternatives like PALLITE. But many of these come with limitations or drawbacks – something that PALLITE strives to avoid.

“We were clear from the start that our products had to offer a credible alternative to wood, meaning they were strong enough to handle the kind of jobs customers routinely require,” explains PALLITE CEO Iain Hulmes. “It didn’t make sense to us to offer products that only a small proportion of businesses could actually use.

“You wouldn’t think something made from just paper and PVA glue, that weighs under 5kg itself and can be engineered to carry 1 tonne with ease. The fact a standard PALLITE pallet can do this, and hold up to 750kg in open-beam racking, is testament to the many design hours invested to create a product range that is truly innovative.” 

Thanks to the honeycomb-cell technology used in their design, PALLITE pallets are stronger than cardboard equivalents, and bespoke versions have been manufactured for customers allowing them to hold much more than the figures Holmes quotes.

This strength, together with a weight saving of around 20kg on their wooden counterparts, makes PALLITE pallets a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly choice for businesses large and small across a wide range of industries, whether they are transporting goods by land, air or sea. Even if businesses have very specific requirements that mean they can’t use PALLITE for all their transportation needs, switching to PALLITE for the journeys they can delivers significant benefits. These include reduced fuel costs when travelling by road, cheaper air freight, and lower CO2 emissions across the board.

What’s more, the entire PALLITE range contains no nails and does not splinter. It also has a higher resistance to mould than wooden pallets. These factors make PALLITE an ideal choice for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as reduce the risk of manual handling injuries in the workplace.

The PALLITE range is readily available and can be tailored to customers’ requirements. For more information, call 01933 283920 or email enquiries@pallite.co.uk.

GUEST BLOG: Enforcing packaging standards delivers ethical and financial value

Switched on brands are becoming ever more aware of the importance of packaging when it comes to consumer experience. Far too few, however, have yet to address the extraordinary packaging inefficiencies that exist throughout the supply chain.

Where is the consistency in packaging types -both material and size – that can not only enforce sustainability and ethical standards but also enable cost saving optimisation of pallets, containers and warehouse space?

David Griffiths, Product Marketing Manager, Adjuno, outlines the value of enforcing robust packaging standards across the global supply chain…

Packing, Shipping and Storing Air

Minimalist packaging may be the new black when it comes to consumer facing goods, but across the supply chain the situation is far from slick. When some retailers are handling thousands of different packaging types from suppliers globally, the implications on cost, sustainability and efficiency are very significant.

Given the risk of product damage associated with packaging that is too small, many suppliers will err on the large side – but the costs of this approach, both direct and indirect, are considerable. In addition to wasting money on unnecessary material, what about the wasted space? With multiple sizes used, pallets are not optimised, nor are containers; while oversized packaging also impacts the number of items that can be stored in the warehouse or distribution centre (DC), or in-store. Packing, shipping and storing air is an expensive business. Add in the cost of ethically disposing of damaged or unusable packaging, and reconsidering this area should be about far more than the consumer facing experience.

Plugging the Leak

With the rising pressure on costs and growing stakeholder expectations regarding ethical business practice, retailers need to take control and plug the financial leaks across the supply chain associated with packaging inefficiency. And that means defining and, critically, enforcing very clear packaging standards on suppliers.

Just consider the supply chain implications of reducing packaging types from thousands, even hundreds, to just a dozen – from the material consistency that transforms recycling and waste disposal activity to the optimisation of shipping and storage. And the financial returns that can be achieved by creating packaging standards across the world are significant – from a typical 5% to 10% reduction in the amount of packaging material being used to an improvement in container utilisation of 5% – 15%. The return on investment is compelling – and quick.

Enforcing Control

The starting point must be a robust review of requirements: what are the packaging requirements of the product? What are the space restrictions in the DC? What can containers handle? And what are the feasible packaging types that can be enforced? The challenge, however, is not simply to create these standards but to ensure they are enforced globally. Going through the exercise of rationalising packaging is great but fail to robustly enforce the standards and suppliers will rapidly revert back to using all various shapes and sizes.

Compliance is key – and that means ensuring a retailer has excellent visibility of the supplier’s packaging plans. The easiest approach is to automatically accept orders packed using the authorised sizes and materials. If a supplier cannot access approved packaging for some justifiable reason, retailers can also offer a short list of acceptable sizes – while also ensuring the substitution is automatically communicated. The big win is to have immediate visibility when a supplier proposes the use of unauthorised packaging – enabling a retailer to accept or reject an order based on the potential financial (and ethical) implications of failing to follow the defined standards.

It’s not just retailers that need visibility. In order to inspire suppliers to stick to the rules, they need to be easy to find as well as adhere to. Suppliers need to have excellent visibility of the retailers requirements in order to quickly locate the right type of packaging and keep the process running as efficiently as possible.

Conclusion

This is a massive mindset shift – and one that will be increasingly considered not just at the time of each shipment but during supplier assessment. In a world where packaging is fast becoming a key component of sustainable and ethical business, a supplier’s commitment to the use of standardised packaging must become a fundamental component of the decision making process.

Minimalist packaging is indeed the new black – from supplier all the way through to consumer.

Up the revolution, says AXIT

The digital revolution is making supply chains greener – That’s the finding of the IT experts at AXIT, a Siemens company.

The ‘Green Paper’ published by the cloud specialist examines the effects of the digital revolution on logistical processes from various perspectives.

The assessment is based on the control of supply chains using AX4. The cloud-based IT platform integrates all the relevant parties in a logistics network – manufacturers, suppliers, service partners, etc. – to ensure smooth, cross-enterprise collaboration and end-to-end visibility of goods in transit.

“It’s possible to plan transports proactively and optimise the utilisation of capacities. This leads to fewer empty trucks running, which lowers CO2 emissions,” said Christian Wendt, Head of Marketing at AXIT. “Using a platform solution that connects all logistics partners also makes it much easier to integrate environmentally friendly modes of transport such as trains and barges.”

The Green Paper from AXIT provides the insights into the latest key issues of green logistics in the digital age. The various sections focus on different options that users have for deploying AX4 in the digital supply chain. Whether it’s reducing traffic at logistics hubs, making better use of transport capacities, or using less paper in the processing of orders. “Green logistics is becoming the model of success in the digital world,” added Wendt.

The AXIT Green Paper ‘Using the digital supply chain to achieve environmentally friendly, cost-efficient logistical processes’ can be downloaded for free at www.axit.de/en/green-paper.